Manhunt underway for suspect in Aniah Blanchard case
Police say Ibraheem Yazeed was involved in taking Blanchard against her will
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Police have identified a suspect in the missing person case of Aniah Blanchard and have issued an arrest warrant for first-degree kidnapping.
Authorities are actively searching for Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, of Montgomery. He should be considered dangerous and potentially armed.
“Further investigation and analysis of evidence has determined that Yazeed was at the same location Blanchard was last seen and is involved in taking Aniah against her will,” Auburn Police Chief Paul Register said Thursday.
Police say at this point they have no reason to believe Blanchard knew Yazeed, but they can’t rule it out. Police say additional charges and arrests are anticipated.
Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts or information on this case is asked to call the Auburn Police Division Detective Section at 334-501-3140, Central Alabama Crime Stoppers at 334-215-STOP, or the 24-hour non-emergency number at 334-501-3100.
Yazeed is out jail on bond for charges of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of first-degree robbery in connection with a February case out of Montgomery. Before noon on Thursday, Montgomery District Court Judge Pamela Higgins revoked his combined $280,000 bond and ordered his arrest.
Blanchard, 19, has been missing for more than two weeks. She was reported missing on Oct. 24. Auburn police said she spoke with friend just before midnight the night before. It was the last time anyone has heard from her.
Police had released surveillance video of Blanchard inside a convenience store on South College Street. They said it was recorded just before her SUV was seen traveling southbound on South College Street.
Police said the man was also captured on surveillance video inside the same store at the time Blanchard was last seen.
“We do feel like this is the location that, whatever took place, did take place there at that location, generally,” Register said.
The Auburn Police Division released two photos of a man they called a “person of interest” in the case Wednesday evening and had a name in less than 24 hours.
Blanchard’s Honda CR-V was found Friday, Oct. 25 at a Montgomery apartment complex not far from busy Atlanta Highway. It had fresh damage along its passenger side. Days later on Oct. 31, police confirmed evidence found inside the vehicle indicated she had been harmed.
A task force comprised of officers from Montgomery and Auburn, along with state and federal law enforcement, has been involved in the search for Blanchard.
Authorities have been focusing their search efforts in Auburn, Montgomery and the area in between. The cities are about 50 miles apart and connected by Interstate 85.
Investigators have been searching for Blanchard by land and by air, conducting planned searches and walking down tips. Air One, the state helicopter, has been seen across Montgomery. Ground searches have included multiple K-9 units.
Blanchard is a native of Homewood and a student at Southern Union State Community College in Lee County. Her stepfather is UFC fighter Walt Harris.
A reward totaling $105,000 from multiple sources has been pledged toward the effort to find her.
“Where we are in this case is a combination of 11 different agencies working together to come to the point where we have charges in this case,” Register said Thursday. “Obviously, our focus is and has been from the very beginning, locating Aniah. But at this point, we are seeking assistance in locating Ibraheem Yazeed.”
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